THERE was speculation among Doncaster Rovers’ supporters during the close season that defender Sam Hird could be on his way.
Hird was one of the last players offered a new deal to sign but the Doncaster-born defender insists that fans shouldn’t read anything into it.
“It wasn’t a case of holding out for a longer term deal; I knew what the gaffer had offered me and I knew what the situation was here,” he told The Star.
“Last season I played a lot of games, but not every game, but I wasn’t looking to go anywhere else I always wanted to stay here.
“It was just a case that I was on holiday and I didn’t want to rush into anything really.
“It’s not about the length of the contract or the money. I want to be here and I want to play here. I’m at a stage of my career where I want to play games and this is where I want to play my football.
“Every player wants to play whether they are at a top club or a lower club, and I’m no different; I just want to play games.
“There is a lot of competition for places and that will increase as we get players back from injury. But whilst that makes it tougher on the players it gives the team a better chance of doing well.”
Although the 23 year-old star is keen to start as many games as possible, his versatility makes him a good man to have on the bench.
In addition to his preferred centre-back role, Hird can also operate at right-back, which he did in a couple of pre-season games, and midfield.
His performance in midfield in the warm-up game at Carlisle attracted praise from assistant manager Richard O’Kelly.
“Everybody knows that I’m a centre-back but I’m happy to play wherever the manager wants me for the benefit of the team,” he said.
“Players have to be adaptable these days and if the manager wants to play you out of position that’s what you do if you are a good professional.”
Hird came off the bench late in Saturday’s opening Championship clash at Brighton and is hoping to feature, perhaps more prominently, in tonight’s Carling Cup first round tie at home to League One outfit Tranmere Rovers.
Rovers have made little impact in the competition during Hird’s time at the club.
“We’ve gone out in the first round twice in the last three years,” he said.
“We made a lot of changes from the team which played in the first league match on the Saturday against Accrington Stanley last season, and we lost.
“Hopefully we can get a result tonight and go a bit further in the competition. I think that we’ve got a strong enough squad, especially when we get a few players back, to compete on two fronts.
“Past results have shown that you can’t underestimate anybody in the competition and I’m sure that Tranmere will put up a good fight.”
Whilst Rovers were going down to a 2-1 defeat in their opening Championship game at Brighton, Tranmere were beating promoted Chesterfield 1-0 in their League One clash at Prenton Park.
It will be Rovers’ first home game since the end of last season.